Iran opens $1 bn extension at gateway port to Afghanistan
05 December, 2017, 02:27 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
The inauguration of the Phase I of Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar, done by Iran's President Dr. Hassan Rouhani, was also attended by Indian Minister of State (MoS) Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan and Minister of Commerce and Industries of Afghanistan Humayoon Rasaw. "The project is specifically important, as it connects the trade corridors passing through Iran to the ocean", he said. After 15 years after India and Iran first formally agreed to develop Chabahar port in January 2003 and it was inaugurated yesterday.
Just a day before the historic inauguration, EAM Sushma Swaraj made a surprise stopover at Iran on her way back from Russian Federation and met with her counterpart Javed Zarif. Speaking at the event, however, Iran's president said regional rivalries should give way for "more engagement and unity" in the region.
India, Afghanistan, and Iran previous year made a decision to jointly establish a trade route for land-locked Central Asian countries. Through the joint collaboration, the first tranche of 110000 tonnes of wheat has already reached Afghanistan through Chabahar Port about a month ago. This pact allows Afghanistan to use Chahbahar port to ship its goods to markets like India, thereby reducing its dependence on Pakistan and its Karachi port.
The $1 billion extension of the strategic port, located in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Balochistan in Iran, aims to connect Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.
■ The Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea.
India has been closely working with Afghanistan and Iran to create alternative, reliable access routes for trade.
"We hope the relevant cooperation can be conducive to maintaining regional peace and promoting regional stability and prosperity", he said.
The first part of India's construction is scheduled to be finished in 2018.
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After connecting Chabahar to Zahedan, the railroad will be linked to Zaranj in Afghanistan.
The nation anticipates that it will become a key transit route to land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asia and enable more Indian commodities to be exported to Russian Federation. Chabahar also has an global airport and Iran's Navy and Air Force have bases in the city, adding to the ports value.
While India has been fully devoted to getting its ambitious Chabahar project, Pakistan has left no stone unturned up the game with its investment and alliance with China on Gwadar Port (China Pak Economic Corridor). Iranian Parliament or Majlis recently ratified the trilateral trade agreement signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Rouhani and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in May 2016.
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